Blog Post

Harnessing the “Power of Data” with Catchpoint

We all know the question, “Why did the chicken cross the road?” but shouldn’t it be, “When should the chicken cross the road?”

For the past 25 years, I’ve been monitoring networks, applications, services, basically anything digital on a quest to understand “when is it safe to cross the road”!

A chicken obliviously wandering in the middle of a main road

We all know, just blindly crossing a road is EXTREMELY dangerous! It all comes down to the number of data points you can leverage, and if that data is complete, meaning RAW, un-summarized data from reliable sources that was captured in real-time, so you can process this information to determine “when” to safely cross the road.

What monitoring points does our brain use to cross a busy road?

One of the best analytics engines out there is the human brain. It’s incredibly good at taking in real-time raw data, processing it, and using it to make decisions.

So, let’s consider the monitoring points that our brain uses when trying to cross a busy road:  

  • Your eyes capture raw data as flashes of light and dark. The brain takes these flashes and resolves them into objects such as street signs, people, and cars.  
  • Your working memory tells you if that car is sitting still, getting bigger as it comes toward you, or getting smaller as it drives away.  
  • Meanwhile, your ears take in raw information in the form of vibrations in the air, which the brain translates into sounds that can be interpreted as the wind, voices, or a car engine.  
  • Finally, all the raw data that came in through your eyes, ears and memory helps you make an informed decision to cross the road or not. That’s the power of having real-time RAW data from many inputs and perspectives AND the power to analyze the information.

Take away any one of those inputs and your decision-making process becomes much less accurate. Let’s say you’re just using your eyes to determine when to cross the road, but you must adhere to the following conditions:

  • You can only look to your right  
  • You open your eyes for 1 second then close them for 15 seconds
  • You open your eyes for 1 second then close them for 15 seconds  
  • You open your eyes for 1 second then close them for 15 seconds  

This is called “sampling data from a limited data source” which is how many monitoring solutions operate.  You have a better chance of winning the lottery than getting across that road safely!  

OK, now that we all have a much better appreciation for the value of having multiple data inputs in real-time to simply cross a road, let’s apply this same logic to monitoring SaaS applications or any complex digital transaction.  

The Four Capabilities an Effective Observability Solution Needs

Over the years, I’ve learned there are four capabilities that an observability solution must possess to be effective:

  1. Does the solution provide multiple vantage points for triangulation? (I’m not talking tens or hundreds, I’m talking thousands).
  1. The vantage points must encompass varied types of technology, such as last mile, backbone providers, DNS, CDN, etc., so you’re getting a complete picture.
  1. The data must be saved in non-aggregated, raw format, meaning NO sampling. I want a continual feed of real-time data in its atomic form.
  1. An analytics engine that can process this data however I want to.

This is what it takes to monitor today and tomorrow's hyper-connected world and to ensure you get across that road. And bear in mind, this is no country road... You’re in downtown New York City or Mumbai. This equates to the challenges IT faces when trying to meet the flawless digital experience that customers and workers demand, all the while having to navigate the delivery of those digital services across an ever-changing and extraordinarily complex underlying digital infrastructure. And in a digital world, failures or delays pose existential business risk.

Welcome to Catchpoint’s Observability Solution

Catchpoint’s Observability solution provides the answers about the health and performance of your digital assets. To pull this off, we obtain raw data from across the end-to-end digital service supply and delivery chain from various data sources and telemetry types then store the data within our Orchestra Database so you can query, visualize, analyze, collaborate, and integrate the data to quickly identify issues.

Data sources and telemetry types of Catchpoint's Orchestra Database
Deliverable insights offered by Catchpoint

Utilizing Catchpoint’s purpose-built Orchestra database, you can view multi-dimensional data, with no constraints on how you can display multiple metrics over large periods of time. This allows you to find that one needle in the hundreds of haystacks that today’s hyper-connected world has introduced.

Dashboard including graphs of different cities in the Orchestra Database
Orchestra Database Dashboard

In the widget above you are looking at the web and network performance of three airlines displaying the following information:

  • 90 days of non-aggregated data
  • 9 different metrics (Test Time, Cumulative Layout Shift, Largest Contentful Paint, First Contentful Paint, % Packet Loss, Round Trip Time, # Hops, # Autonomous Systems, DNS)
  • Visualizations: By Time / Test / City

This one view allows me to compare and contrast the different airlines’ Core Web Vitals, Network Stats, and DNS information broken out by specific tests and cities. As you can see, anyone in the New York City area attempting to reach Delta was having performance issues on July 1 at midnight. Was an update being pushed out?, maybe a CDN provider was having issues? It could be caused by any number of reasons but with Catchpoint’s Orchestra database and our analysis engine, we can quickly diagnose WHAT exactly caused this spike. And this is just one example, we could have been as easily been monitoring a SaaS application or any other digital transaction.

If you are looking to evolve your monitoring to an observability solution that can provide you with global visibility from a multitude of perspectives, capturing non-aggregated data and the ability to display the information however you deem necessary, Catchpoint absolutely needs to be on the top of your list.  

To find out for yourself Catchpoint’s unparalleled ability to harness the power of data, try Catchpoint now.

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